Disclaimer: I own nothing in this marvelous universe; it all belongs to C.S. Lewis and Walden Media.
Author's Note: This is one plot-bunny that simply would not leave me alone. I'm not sure anyone else has done anything quite like this (although if anyone has, I'd be very interested), so I figured, why not? It'll be a mix of Bookverse and Movieverse (because, truthfully, I could never quite settle with the way certain aspects of Peter's character were portrayed in the movie) and will incorporate various scenes from both—:grins: adjusted, of course, to fit my story. I hope you enjoy!
Summary: What if Lucy had decided to go across the gorge when she saw Aslan, regardless of whether her siblings came with her? At least she won't be alone…and it is not just Aslan who joins her…(AU, Book and Moviebased)
Memories/Book Excerpts/Quotes (Italics)
(1) Prince Caspian pg. 260 in The Complete Chronicles of Narnia (Hardcover; Illustrated)
Keeping the Faith
By Sentimental Star
Chapter One: The Diverging of Ways
"Oh, Aslan," said Lucy. "You don't mean it was? How could I—I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I…oh, well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?"
Aslan said nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right—somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?"
"To know what would have happened, child?" said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that." (1)
"Aslan…? Aslan! It's Aslan over there! Don't you see? He's right…there…"
In hindsight, it was probably one of the most noble and courageous things Edmund had ever done—right alongside a somewhat similar action on the fields of Beruna years and years ago by Narnian time.
Certainly, Lucy was not—as Peter had been—in mortal peril. Nor was she even really in danger of injury, if one was to trust Aslan—and Edmund, like Lucy (perhaps even more so in some cases), trusted Aslan with his whole heart. But she was…well, not in danger from their older siblings, but certainly, had the potential to be very, very hurt.
"Do…you see him now?"
"I'm not crazy."
Trumpkin, Edmund could understand to some degree. The Red Dwarf, possessed of a heart of gold though he was, had too long been subjugated and seen others subjugated to the cruelty of the Telmarines to believe any different. He understood him frighteningly well, in fact. But their siblings…
"I'm sure there's any number of lions in these woods—just like that bear."
"Don't you think I know Aslan when I see him?"
He no longer recognized Peter. In Narnia they had always fought side-by-side and back-to-back, covering and protecting each other with all that they had and all the skills they possessed. As a result, Peter, although ever the big brother, found himself equally protected by his younger brother—both on and off the battlefield.
In London, when Peter sometimes needed that protection even more than he had in Narnia, he cold-shouldered all of Edmund's efforts. They didn't seem much like brothers anymore, and Edmund did not even want to think about the friendship that had—for all intents and purposes—been lost.
"Where is it exactly that you think you saw him, Lucy?"
"I do wish you'd all stop talking like grown-ups. I don't think I saw him. I did see him. And he wants us to go across the gorge."
Susan wasn't much better. Too old, and too intent on growing up, when really, she needn't be grown-up at all because she already had matured. She'd been their sister and their mother, the one who understood and cared for the littlest hurts. Now, she was just stifling, and occasionally a wet blanket. But at least Edmund knew he still had somewhat the same footing with her in London as he had in Narnia, at least she wasn't completely foreign.
"Look…I'm not about to jump off a cliff after someone who doesn't exist."
/Oh, Lu…/ Edmund thought, shutting his eyes tightly at the absolutely devastated look that crossed his littlest sister's face.
Lucy alone of his three siblings had remained unchanged. And he loved her more every day for it.
It was that which allowed him to speak now, in direct contradiction to Susan…and to Peter: "The last time I didn't believe Lucy," he spoke up slowly and thoughtfully, opening his eyes to watch Lucy and Peter where they stood near the lip of the gorge, "I ended up looking…well, pretty stupid."
He cast a significant look at Peter, who knew exactly what he was talking about, and whose face abruptly tightened, then shuttered, at the unwanted reminder of how very close he'd come to losing Edmund—and not just in the physical sense, either.
"Oh, Ed!" Lucy cried in joy and, running forward, seized his hand, smiling brightly up at him.
Edmund favored her with a warm smile, squeezing her hand in return, before intently studying Peter. "She did discover Narnia first, Pete, and none of us believed her then—I was the worst, I know. But look where we are now. Oughtn't we believe her this time? She was right. You know that as well as I do."
He included Susan and Trumpkin in that last bit, sweeping his gaze over both of them. Susan frowned unhappily, but did not refute him, and the Dwarf just gazed silently back at him.
Edmund couldn't be sure, but he thought he saw a respectful sheen to those eyes.
He turned back to Peter, and found in his older brother's eyes another story entirely. Peter knew he was right, there was no doubt about that, but his gaze, when he looked at Edmund and Lucy, was dark and pained.
With a shiver, Edmund decided he really did not like it.
Peter faced Lucy again and asked, voice all but unreadable, "Why wouldn't I have seen him?"
Lucy's hand around Edmund's tightened as she answered, gently as possible, "Maybe you just weren't looking for him."
Peter looked away and back at the gorge with a barely perceptible wince.
Edmund's heart plummeted. Even before Peter turned, he knew what the older boy was going to say. "I'm sorry, Lu," and it sounded so utterly hopeless that Edmund winced himself. "I know you may be right after all," and here he glanced at his younger brother, "but I can't help it."
Unable to look at either of his youngest siblings any longer, Peter turned away, and walked past them up to Susan and Trumpkin.
Edmund was painfully conscious of his brother's bitter disappointment, as surely Lucy was, as well. He'd hoped—being back in Narnia—that the air and the places and the people would have reminded their elder siblings of what once had been, but even Narnia itself had changed, and Peter's ever present guilt was making him angry, irritable, and disagreeable.
It hurt Edmund to see that, to be forced to watch as Peter ran himself into the ground, snapping at everyone around him, and it was ten times worse because his brother still wouldn't let any of them help.
He had tried, and Lucy had tried—so had Susan, even Trumpkin. But Peter…Peter was determined that no one could make this right but him.
Now, it appeared he had even forgotten Aslan.
More than anything else, that hurt, because without Aslan, there was no High King, and without the High King, there wasn't an older brother…and certainly not a best friend. Not one he knew, anyway.
Said best friend's voice broke into his thoughts, scolding and irritated, and like salt rubbed into a newly opened wound.
"We'll be there in a minute, Peter!" Edmund called back.
"Well, hurry up!"
Edmund grit his teeth, more than a little annoyed with their brother.
One look at Lucy's stricken face, however, was enough to quench his irritation rather fast.
"Lu?" he asked softly.
"Oh, Edmund!" she cried, and promptly buried her face in his chest. She did not sob, or make a sound, merely huddled as closely to him as she could, shoulders trembling.
Edmund's heart contracted sharply, even as he awkwardly put his arms around her. This was Peter's forte, and Susan's—or, at least, the Peter and Susan he remembered—not his. But the Peter and Susan he remembered were no longer here, just him, and he felt incredibly inadequate for the task.
He must have done something right, however: after only a few minutes, Lucy's quivering shoulders had ceased their movement. Soon enough, he felt her square them underneath his hands, and push away from his chest.
Breathing a faint sigh of relief, he released her to stand on her own. Which she did, straightening her back and setting her jaw, lifting her chin so she could look him eye to eye. There was a new fire in her eyes as she gazed at him, and a hardened resolve that he had not, until this moment, realized he missed.
Unconsciously, he straightened, finding himself not merely in the presence of his youngest sister, but also in the presence of Queen Lucy the Valiant.
It had been a long time since he had last seen her thus, in all her stubborn glory.
"I don't care what Peter and Susan say. I know what I saw, and I know what he wants me to do. I'm going to him, Edmund…and thank you for believing me, but I'm not going back with you."
Edmund, who had half-expected something of this sort ever since he'd seen Queen Lucy in his sister's eyes again, simply raised an eyebrow. "And pray tell, sister mine, what makes you think I will be going anywhere without you?"
"Oh, but, Ed!" she burst out, and her eyes had grown slightly large, "You'd be going against Peter, and I…I know how much you dislike it."
Edmund grimaced lightly. That was true, but…"Lu, he…he's not the Peter you and I remember. He hasn't been, really, since we returned from the Professor's house." And oh, how he hated admitting it.
Compassion suffused his younger sister's face. "Is it very hard?" she asked softly.
Edmund started, blinking rapidly at her and caught off-guard. "What?"
"Peter. Is it very hard? I know how close you two used to be."
Her youngest brother sighed and looked away. "Sometimes," he admitted quietly, before shaking his head and turning back, holding out his hand to her. "Come on. Show me where you saw Aslan."
Understanding the subject was closed for the moment, she gave him a sad smile and took his proffered hand.
For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight.—II Corinthians 5:7